In 1993 I was a volunteer at Cooper hospital. I would at times stare out the window from the 7th floor looking out to the Camden waterfront. I knew something was being built because from the window I can see the construction on the BB&T Pavilion going on. I did not know what was going on. I remember asking one of the doctors what are they building at the Camden waterfront. I was told it was an amphitheater where we could see concerts. For us it was a great thing that we can see major artists in Camden and not have to cross the bridge to go to the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia. Every month I would see the progress I would see the construction I would see how the Amphitheatre was coming along and I loved seeing it I really wish I would have taken pictures every month on the progress of the amphitheatre being built. It was something special to see. I was a teenager at the time I was 15 years old and seeing the progress going on at the Camden waterfront to me was wow it’s about time. It became personal to me. Even today it’s personal. I have seen it go through two name changes. It’s a very special place in my heart. At the time the New Jersey State Aquarium (now Adventure Aquarium) had only been open for a year. Now as chairman of the Camden Parking Authority I get to be involved in what is happening at the Camden waterfront.
You have sadly journalists and bloggers that like to write negative things about the Camden waterfront and the BB&T Pavilion. That is fine which is why I love having my blog. I said in a radio interview this past week that what goes on before the concert also goes on in South Philadelphia when people go to a concert when I want to go see Metallica in 1997 people were drinking partying in the parking lot play music loud and proud but if you are doing it in Camden they want to write something negative about it.
This blog is coming from my heart this blog is coming from a man who was born, raised, and lives in Camden. I am still at times reminded of the 15 year old kid I was when the first concert was being played in June 1995 and thinking wow Bon Jovi is coming to Camden, NJ. That’s when I knew that I would be able to see my favorite artists in Camden, NJ. It saves time compared to going to South Philadelphia.
We get the negative press just based off of one or two concerts but hardly anybody maybe one journalist wanted to write about what happened last year. It is easy to read the negative things that people want to say and think it is bad to come to the Camden Waterfront and enjoy a concert. Last year the one concert that we always get bad press for was successful. We all worked together the BB&T Pavilion, Camden Parking Authority, Camden County Metro Police and Cooper grant neighbors we all work together to ensure we didn’t have the same issues as in the past. This year we will continue to have the same success we had last year. This year I am more determined more passionate to make sure that we have a successful year to make sure that we don’t get some of the negative press. The negative press at times is a slap in the face at times at those who give 100% to make a successful season happen. Everyone from cashiers to head of the departments gives 100% at each and every event. I see it. I am out there at times to see for myself. I am proud of the work that is done. We are not going to make everybody happy. I would love to but it is not going to happen.
I have had the chance to speak to a lot of the concert goers for them coming to see Dave Matthews or Jimmy Buffett that’s a highlight of their summer what they do is come down enjoy a concert and just have a good time when you have 25,000 people coming you’re going to have a few bad apples but the rest of them are just going to come have a great time they’re going to tell people the next day when they go back to school they are going to say what a great time they had. To some of the concert goers it is a tradition and a way for them to have fun with their friends and families. To the people who are coming to the Camden Waterfront to see a concert this summer we welcome you and we thank you.
I will always think back to the 15 year old kid looking out the window at the Camden waterfront seeing the Camden Waterfront moving forward. It’s a 19 year journey with BB&T Pavilion. That is the point of view where I am coming from. That is the point of view that some people will get and others don’t.